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  • » 03/18/2017, 11.03


    Jehovah's Witnesses' presence at risk across Russia

    The Ministry of Justice wants to declare all activities of the group "extremist" and therefore banned throughout the Federation. According to the Government, such activities "violate the rights and freedoms of man and citizens and harm people, public order and national security." The religious texts of Jehovah's Witnesses banned because they give "negative views" toward other religions and because they are against military service.

    Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - On March 15 the Ministry of Justice presented a lawsuit at the Supreme Court seeking that the Jehovah's Witnesses administrative center be declared an "extremist organization". If the cause is successful, the religious activities of Jehovah's Witnesses will be prohibited throughout Russia and the property of the administrative center will be confiscated by the state. The JW community will be forbidden to gather and violators will be prosecuted as involved in "extremist activity".

    The problems date back to years ago. The JWs have always been viewed with suspicion: their encounters have suffered police raids; their publications have been confiscated; they are forbidden to go from door to door. The anti-terrorism laws, very general, have branded least 90 publications of Jehovah's Witnesses as "extremist" because they have "negative" judgments towards other religions and urge members not to do military service.

    The cause will be followed by the judge Nikolai Romanenkov. "Once they have examined the case - said a secretary of the Court - the judge will determine when the hearing will begin and whether it will be open to the public. All information will be available on the Court's web site. "

    On 27 February, the Ministry of Justice has completed an inspection of the structure and activities of the administrative center of Jehovah's Witnesses. On completion of the inspection, Svetlana Borisova, Filatova and Izmaylova Galina, the department officials for religious organizations of the Ministry of Justice, have drafted a 32-page report on the current condition of the religious group.

    The report concludes that despite the warnings of the Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, "the structural subdivisions of the administrative center are engaged in extremist activities, which violate the rights and freedoms of man and citizen and harm people, public order and "national security. According to the report, the administrative center of the JW is responsible for providing "inaccurate" information on "extremist" literature that arrived in Russia in 2014 despite being declared illegal.

    The Supreme Court has included 95 religious texts of Jehovah's Witnesses on the national list of extremist materials. Many of the members were fined and prosecuted for possession of these texts. According to Forum 18, since 2007 there were a total of 39 warnings and official information on the "inadmissibility of extremist activity" in 29 regions of the country. In March 2016, the administrative center of Jehovah's Witnesses in St. Petersburg also received an official warning.

    The Jehovah's Witnesses are not the only group affected. The Supreme Court has upheld the causes for the dissolution of the Central Conference of the Russian United Methodist Church [in January 2016] and of the United Russian Islamic Conference the [April 2016]. The dissolution of these bodies, however, was not motivated by accusations of "extremism", but only by having failed to submit annual reports to the authorities and for the "inaccurate" information given on federal tax records. In Russia 58 organizations are already banned, these inlcude seven of the JW community in Taganrog, Samara, Abinsk, Stary Oskol, Belgorod, Elista and Oryol.

    In the country, the JWs have at least 172 thousand members. During the commemoration of Jesus' death, the most important event of the year, the number of believers grows to about 300 thousand. At present, in Russia there are 397 registered organizations; more than 2500 are not approved by the government.

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    See also

    02/11/2010 RUSSIA
    Russian Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions: 18 people die
    A Russian newspaper reports that the community opposition to blood transfusions has killed 18 people, including eight children. Two investigations opened in Kogalym and Moscow.

    14/04/2010 RUSSIA
    Jehovah's Witnesses treated as "terrorists"
    Investigations and searches from house to house, seizing religious material "extremist" allegations. A Kingdom hall in Budennovsk set on fire. Just like under Stalin?

    21/11/2013 RUSSIA
    Russia, attacks on Jehovah's Witnesses and Pentecostals increase under anti-extremism law
    Experts from the Sova center denounce the escalation of attacks against religious minorities. On November 25 Tagarong trial opens against 16 Jehovah's Witnesses accused of extremism for continuing to pray and read the Bible together, after the ban on the community decided by the Russian Supreme Court in 2009.

    11/12/2009 RUSSIA
    The Supreme Court confirms: Jehovah's Witnesses outlawed in Rostov
    Upheld a ruling passed in September by the provincial court of the city on the Black Sea. Communities in the cities of Taganrog, Neklinov Matveeva and Kurgan-can no longer carry out activities and must withdraw. 34 publications banned for "extremist content" and property confiscated. Jehovah's Witnesses are turning to the European Court.

    05/11/2011 RUSSIA
    Head of Altai Jehovah's Witnesses convicted of 'extremism'
    New court sentence against the persecuted community in Russia. NGOs for human rights denounce religious extremism law, which resulted in authorities blacklisting at least 265 organizations.

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